Written by attorney Richard E. Samdperil

Under 21: Alcohol and Drug Charges in New Hampshire Courts

In New Hampshire, any person who is not yet 21, who is convicted of "any offense involving the sale, possession, use, or abuse of alcohol" may have his or her license suspended, revoked or denied.

A person who is under age 21 and is charged with DWI faces a mandatory minimum loss of license of one year. However, a license loss can also result from:

Intoxication ("internal possession" or unlawful possession of alcohol)

Using a Fake ID

Attempting to Purchase Alcohol

Transporting Alcohol (even closed containers)

Open Container violations.

If you are under 21, you could lose your license for 90 days or more for a first offense, and from 6 months to 2 years for a subsequent offense. Even if you do not hold a NH license, many states will honor a license revocation or suspension issued by the NH DMV. There can also be significant fines.

In addition, a person under age 21 can lose his or her license for any drug related offense, regardless of whether a motor vehicle was involved. Depending on the charge, a license loss can be mandatory. But in many cases, the judge can instruct the DMV not to suspend a person's license. For these reasons, what offense the prosecutor charges, and what sentence the judge imposes, can often be critical factors in determining the amount of the fine, and whether there will be a loss of license.

A lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to change the charge or convince a judge to impose a loss of license. If you are a student, or the parent of student who is under 21 and has been charged with a DWI in NH, or any other alcohol or drug related offense, give us a call. We routinely appear in the NH District Courts and are experienced in handling these types of cases. For more information, visit our website.

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